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Meta-analysis strengthens link between depression and inflammation

Anti-inflammatories and depression


The anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib (pictured) could play a role as an antidepressant, research suggests

There is compelling evidence of a link between inflammation and depression, and several studies have reported an antidepressant effect of anti-inflammatory drugs. This concept is strengthened by a meta-analysis published in JAMA Psychiatry[1] (online, 15 October 2014) that included 14 trials and 6,262 patients treated with either non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or cytokine inhibitors.

The pooled effect estimate suggested that anti-inflammatory treatment reduced depressive symptoms compared with placebo, in both patients with depression and those with depressive symptoms. The strongest effect size was seen with celecoxib, with odds ratios of 7.89 for remission (95% confidence interval 2.94 to 21.17) and 6.59 for response (95% CI 2.24 to 19.42). There was no increase in adverse effects.

All trials were associated with a high risk of bias but this study supports a proof of concept, say Ole Kohler, from Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, and colleagues. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20066946

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